From purple and gold to red, white and blue. After two years of bursting onto the NBA scene with the Lakers, Kyle Kuzma will put his talents on display for the U.S. national team.
The Flint, Michigan, native has been selected to compete at USA Basketball training camp in Las Vegas from Aug. 5-8, culminating with an intrasquad exhibition at T-Mobile Arena on the 9th.
Kuzma will look to carve out his place on coach Gregg Popovich’s team, as the 20-man camp roster will be whittled down to a dozen players for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, held in China from Aug. 31-Sept. 15.
USA National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo was on a conference call on Monday morning and was asked about Kuzma.
“(Kuzma) went into the NBA and has shown a lot of improvement, really a lot of improvement,” said Colangelo*. "Size, shooting ability, range, versatility. And he's a tough guy. You need toughness in this competition.”
*As relayed by Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group.
Kuzma averaged 18.7 points and 5.5 rebounds for the Lakers last season, ranking second on the team in scoring. Among players selected for USA camp, he had the ninth-highest points average.
The 23-year-old is also one of two camp players (Donovan Mitchell) who are new to the USA Basketball program.
Competition at Kuzma’s primary position, power forward, includes: Harrison Barnes, Anthony Davis, Tobias Harris, Kevin Love, Paul Millsap, Jayson Tatum and P.J. Tucker.
Kuzma will look to become the third current Laker with USA senior national team experience. LeBron James won two Olympic gold medals and one bronze, while Alex Caruso played on last year’s World Cup qualifying team.
In between Vegas camp and China, Team USA will hold a second camp in L.A. before playing in an exhibition in Anaheim and three more friendlies in Australia. The official, 12-man World Cup roster will be announced on Aug. 17 after the Anaheim game.
Below is the full training camp roster:
- Harrison Barnes (Forward, Sacramento Kings)
- Bradley Beal (Guard, Washington Wizards)
- Anthony Davis (Forward/Center, New Orleans Pelicans)
- Andre Drummond (Center, Detroit Pistons)
- Eric Gordon (Guard, Houston Rockets)
- James Harden (Guard, Houston Rockets)
- Tobias Harris (Forward, Philadelphia 76ers)
- Kyle Kuzma (Forward, Los Angeles Lakers)
- Damian Lillard (Guard, Portland Trail Blazers)
- Brook Lopez (Center, Milwaukee Bucks)
- Kevin Love (Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Kyle Lowry (Guard, Toronto Raptors)
- C.J. McCollum (Guard, Portland Trail Blazers)
- Khris Middleton (Guard, Milwaukee Bucks)
- Paul Millsap (Forward, Denver Nuggets)
- Donovan Mitchell (Guard, Utah Jazz)
- Jayson Tatum (Forward, Boston Celtics)
- P.J. Tucker (Forward/Center, Houston Rockets)
- Myles Turner (Center, Indiana Pacers)
- Kemba Walker (Guard, Charlotte Hornets)